Hello. It’s Iino.
Today, I’d like to talk about the characteristics of a bad freight forwarding sales people.
In the past, when I used to work in a trading company, I had business with many freight forwarders.
And now, I am the owner of a freight forwarding company, responsible for managing the team of sales people, and have the opportunity to listen to our competitor’s sales information.
It makes me think that a bad sales people have something in common.
If you are a freight forwarding sales person, you can take a note of this.
On the other hand, if you are a shipper or consignee, you will be able to understand the contents of freight forwarding work, and it will be a criteria to choose a better freight forwarder in the future.
Here we go.
Bad Forwarder Sales, Point 1. They say, “can not”, so easily.
When the shippers have new business, and when encountering logistic troubles, they need freight forwarder sales people help.
However, there are freight forwarders who say, “I cannot do it”, so easily.
Some sales people will just say “no” without considering or checking the situation.
There are two patterns for this.
They are too busy with their work and have no time at all. Or, they just haven’t got any experience, and are unable to do it.
Even in any case, the customer will wonder, “what should I do?”
If their job is just handling their regular shipment, then the other freight forwarder may be able to take the job.
In some case, the customer’s requirement may be really difficult.
But it’s the freight forwarding sales job to take care the customer’s request.
So, maybe when the sales person says no without considering, they probably have less experience with the job.
These days, it’s quite common for a freight forwarder to take a “one stop service” job, which include pick up and delivery to the final destination.
Freight forwarding companies cannot survive, by just booking with shipping lines and air lines without having strengths in, “booking space and containers for sure”, and “having the biggest price advantages”.
I believe a freight forwarder is required to be able to work, as a logistic consultant for their customers.
Bad Forwarder Sales, Point 2. “Their response is too slow”.
Some international transport requires quick response, especially when there are problems.
If they are unable to react quickly, it may cause penalties like demurrage, and the cost will increase.
When they are slow to respond, the reason could be because of the sales person, or it may be a problem with the subcontracting company.
The sales person may want to provide feedback to the customer, but they may be waiting to hear the response from the subcontracting company.
I will explain this later, but it is important for a freight forwarder to have good cooperation, with the subcontracting company.
The response speed of a sales people can be solved easily.
They can provide feedback to a customer by sending a short email, or having a chat to show that they are working on it.
If it’s something they can answer immediately, they should respond quickly.
If a sales person needs to check with another department or subcontracting company, it is important to follow up the progress to provide feedback.
Bad Forwarder Sales, Point 3. “They are not checking properly, and their work is not accurate”.
When there is a new job, you may encounter a sales person with poor standards.
We sometimes have this kind of situation even in our company unfortunately.
One of the a sales person works is to establish new business.
When they finish delivery of new business, in the invoice, there may be subjects which they didn’t include in their quotation.
They forgot to check and confirm it in advance.
When it’s the first cargo or a new route for a forwarder sales, even if they believe they have checked enough, they may be surprised to see the invoice from a port or a customs.
Most of the case, the difference of cost cannot be charged to a customer, and I know some companies, including mine have paid a lot of money for this issue.
If the problem can be solved internally, it may be okay.
However, if failing to confirm the information to the customer and charge it to them, I believe it will be a problem between the customer and forwarder.
Bad Forwarder Sales, Point 4. “They are unable to communicate with other co-workers”.
In most cases, freight forwarding sales people do not handle the operation, and the work is completed by a customer service department.
Forwarder sales receive the customer’s requirement, but sometimes, this information is not transferred to the customer service person in charge correctly.
Customer services deal with the operation, and have a high volume of work.
Therefore, miscommunication tends to happen, especially when it’s new business.
If the customer service person does not get the appropriate instruction, and fails to follows this up, it is likely to cause errors.
The sales person will have to solve these troubles by themselves.
Bad Forwarder Sales, Point 5. “They are unable to communicate with the subcontracting company”.
Unless it’s a big freight forwarding company, they subcontract custom clearance, drayage, warehouse, packing and installation.
As previously explained, this is because a freight forwarding company, who deals with shipping lines and air shipment, is required to provide a “one stop service”.
This relates to the communication with the customer service.
When the customer sends a request to a freight forwarding sales person, the information is not communicated correctly to the subcontracting company, such as custom clearance.
There will be errors in customs clearance and could stop the cargo, and this will be a big problem if the customer’s priority is the deadline.
When there is difficult installation and packing arrangements, unless the sales person understands the overall job, and attends the site, they may be unable to make the correct decisions.
In the worst case, it can cause accidents.
It depends on the sales person.
They shouldn’t just leave the job to the subcontractor, but also manage it, to check the progress to ensure that the work is being done correctly.
Even big companies that use their own resources, sometimes fail to communicate well, depending on the sales person.
The size of the company doesn’t matter, as it depends on the sales person’s attitude.
Bad Forwarder Sales, Point 6. “The cost is too high”.
In logistics, as long as the cargo is delivered on time and safely, it’s basically about cost.
If the service of a sales person is great, the cost doesn’t have to be the lowest among other companies.
However, if the price is too high, customers may choose other companies.
The rule of capitalism is to choose the cheaper option, as long as the service is better and deliver the cargo safely and on time.
Freight forwarding sales people need to know their work capacity, and understand the market price.
I personally believe that, if a sales person is working at full capacity and has no time available, they don’t have to sell themselves cheap.
If they can pass the job to the others, they should do so and maintain the price.
In the long run, this will create profit for the organization.
Let me summarize today’s points.
Common characteristics of bad freight forwarding sales people are..
· They say they cannot do so easily.
· The response is too slow.
· Not checking work thoroughly.
· Unable to communicate with the operation well.
· Unable to communicate with subcontractors well.
· The price is too high.
A freight forwarders job is hospitality and service job.
If they don’t take notice of their service and just transport cargo, other forwarders will take over.
It’s a “commodity” type of work, I think.
When I think about how to survive in the business, I realize you should always conduct business thoroughly and quickly.
I hope it was useful for freight forwarding sales people, shippers and consignee.
That’s it for today. Thank you!